April 23, 2013

TV reporter pleads not guilty

BURLINGTON — A former WCAX-TV reporter who had covered the Plattsburgh area has pleaded not guilty to charges that he groped a woman.

Matt Henson, who has been suspended by the Burlington-based station, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of lewd and lascivious conduct and committing a prohibited act.

Lyndonville Police told the Burlington Free Press that Henson, 30, of South Burlington groped a woman under her clothing without her consent twice at Packing House bar in Lyndon early on March 15 and that he had also pinned her against a wall.

Henson allegedly had a blood-alcohol content of 0.194 percent and was taken to detox after his arrest.

He was initially charged with lewd conduct, which is a felony, and disorderly conduct, a violation. But on Monday, the Caledonia County State’s Attorney’s Office upgraded the second charge to a prohibited act, which is a misdemeanor.

Lewd and lascivious conduct carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison and fines, and a conviction for committing a prohibited act could mean up to a year in prison and fines.

Vermont Superior Court Judge Mary Teachout released Henson on conditions, the Free Press reported.

WCAX has said that Henson is still an employee but will be on unpaid leave until the investigation concludes.

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